Dental Symptoms

This is a guide to dental symptoms, their causes and what you can do to relieve your tooth pain.  If you have consistent tooth pain please contact your dentist or endodontist for an evaluation.


Short sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks

If this discomfort lasts only moments, sensitivity to hot and cold foods generally does not signal a serious problem.  The sensitivity may be caused by a loose filling or by minimal gum recession that exposes a small area of the root surface.

Don’t be alarmed this is common.  Try using toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.  Brush up and down with a soft brush.  You should see your dentist to evaluate the cause of the sensitivity. 


Sensitivity to hot or cold foods after dental treatment

Dental work may inflame the pulp or nerves inside the tooth causing temporary sensitivity.

Wait two to four weeks.  If the pain persists or worsens see your general dentist or endodontist.


Sharp pain when biting down on food

There are several possible causes of this type of pain such as decay, or a loose filling or crack in the tooth.  There may also be damage to the pulp tissue inside the tooth.

See a dentist for evaluation.  If the problem is pulp tissue damage, you dentist may send you to an endodontist.  Endodontists are dentists who specialize in pulp-related procedures.  Your endodontist will perform a procedure that cleans out the damaged pulp and fills and seals the remaining space.  This procedure is commonly called a “root canal”.


Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods

This probably means the pulp has been damaged by deep decay or physical trauma.

See your endodontist to save the tooth with root canal treatment.


Constant and severe pain and pressure, swelling of gum and sensitivity  to touch

A tooth may have become abcessed, causing the surrounding gum and bone to become infected.

Remember sometimes the area may have a small swelling on the gums and not hurt, but you still need to have it evaluated.  See your endodontist for an evaluation and treatment to relieve the pain and to save the tooth.  Try over-the-counter medications until you see the endodontist.


Dull ache and pressure in upper teeth and jaw

The pain of a sinus headache is often felt in the face and teeth.  Grinding of teeth, a condition known as bruxism, can also cause this type of ache.

For sinus headache, try over-the-counter medication.  For bruxism, consult your dentist.  If pain is severe and chronic, see your endodontist or physician for evaluation